I have recently written a letter to our federal member David Gillespie about the out of pocket expenses for cancer patients in his electorate, to date I have not received a response.
My wife is currently going through treatment for her third episode of breast cancer. This is the sequence of events leading up to this.
Firstly there a no GPs in Harrington who bulk bill. The diagnosis of the breast cancer involves seeing a surgeon which involves a significant gap payment and then travelling to Port Macquarie for biopsy and another large gap payment.
The diagnosis concludes it is cancer so it is back to the local surgeon who suggests a PET scan which is only available in Newcastle. The results of the PET scan are confusing so the local surgeon refers us to a surgeon in Newcastle. He has scheduled the surgery it will take six weeks for this to eventuate and will require a number of weeks radiation therapy which will have to be done at either Newcastle or Port Macquarie due to the fact that Taree does not have a facility.
If you are unfortunate enough to receive a cancer diagnosis and you live in this area you will suffer not only physically and emotionally but also financially due to gap payments and travel expenses and to hear our Prime Minister say that cancer patients can currently get free treatment was insulting.
I hope that whoever wins the upcoming federal election will take some decisive action on this issue.